Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Create A Holiday Roast Tradition!

By Joe Moore of Indiana Beef Cattle Association - Indiana Beef Council

As we turn toward the November/December holidays, with all their sparkle and magic, what could be more fitting for a company dinner, traditional family get-together or holiday party than some of the finest beef cuts available -- Beef Rib Roast and Beef Tenderloin - roasted to perfection.  

Prime Rib or Standing Rib?  A colloquial and popular term for this cut is "prime rib". Historically, this name stands out regardless of the grade. In addition, the USDA acknowledges this historical note by not requiring the cut "to be derived from USDA prime grade beef". The technical name, per URMIS (Uniform Retail Meat Industry Standards), is "Beef Rib Roast".  Prime rib used to refer to a USDA prime grade standing rib roast, but these days all rib roasts (and some rib steaks) are called prime rib regardless of the USDA grade they received.  A beef rib roast is a cut of beef from the rib section, which is one of the four beef primals.  The entire rib section comprises ribs six through twelve of the animal; a standing rib roast can comprise anywhere from two to all seven ribs. The term "standing" means that because the bones are included in the roast, the roast can stand by itself. A rib roast with the bones removed is commonly referred to as a rolled rib roast or boneless rib roast.  

Each rib feeds about two people, so if you have a party of eight, buy and cook a four rib roast. The rib roast closest to the loin is leaner and more tender than the rib roast nearest the chuck. This end is referred to as the small end rib roast. The chuck end of the rib roast will have a smaller ribeye and contain more fat.   This roast is sometimes referred to as a large end rib roast.

The rib roast cut is so good that it doesn't need a lot of preparation.  The cooking process is also quite simplistic for an entree with such a grand reputation. In fact, this dish is easier to prepare than any other special event food such as turkey or duck. Take the rib roast out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for a couple hours to raise the roast temperature to near room temperature. Preheat your oven to 500°F, or the highest it will go. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper all over the roast.

Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the roast, making sure it doesn't touch a bone. Place the roast rib bones down in a roasting pan in the oven.

After 15 minutes on 500°F, reduce the heat to 325°F. To figure the total cooking time, allow about 13-15 minutes per pound for rare and 17-20 minutes per pound for medium rare. The actual cooking time will depend on the shape of the roast and your particular oven. Use a meat thermometer, this is not a roast to "wing it". 

Roast in oven until thermometer registers 120°F. for rare or 135°F. for medium. Now deglaze the pan by pouring in 1 cup beef broth and bring to a boil. After you've scraped off the bottom of your pan and mixed it into the jus, season with salt and pepper and strain.

Beef tenderloin is the cut of meat taken from the beef loin primal. Since it is the center of tenderness, it is one of the most popular cuts and one of the most expensive cuts as well. Whole untrimmed tenderloin can weigh in around 7-8 pounds and cost as much as $100 or more. If you got the same amount of meat cut into steaks it can cost even more. As tenderloin is easy to trim, purchasing a whole PSMO (peeled, side muscle on) in the bag will save a considerable amount of money. Many retailers will trim it for free.

To trim beef tenderloin start by removing the silvery skin. This cooks up very tough and makes dealing with the tenderloin difficult. Try using a paper towel to get a good hold on the skin while you use a knife to lift it away from the meat. Then remove any excess fat that might be hanging loose. 

A beef tenderloin usually has one large end and one small end. For even cooking, tuck the small tail end under when you tie the meat so that the tenderloin has the same thickness throughout.. With such a terrific cut of beef, the simpler done the better. Try a little black pepper, garlic and maybe a very light coating of olive oil. Anything more will simply detract from the flavor of the meat.  The following instructions for Beef Tenderloin, which calls for the tiniest hint of garlic and black pepper, would work very well.  Allow the roast to raise to room temperature for an hour or so before cooking.  When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 500°F.  Rub the tenderloin all over with olive oil, a cut clove of garlic and freshly cracked black pepper. 

Place the meat in a roasting pan, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the tenderloin and place the pan in the oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 225 °F. If you think your tenderloin is thin, start checking the temperature on the meat thermometer after 1/2 hour; if you have normal sized tenderloin, start checking after 45 or 50 minutes. The thermometer should read 120°F for rare doneness. When the meat has reached the desired temperature, remove from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

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